Factional Politics: How Dominant Parties Implode or Stabilize

5 February 2013

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London, NW1 4QP

Margaret Thatcher was thrown out of office in 1990 but the British Conservatives still won a fourth term in office in 1992. Academics claimed that the British political system was ‘turning Japanese’. Within a year, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was voted out for the first time in 38 years just as Italy’s Christian Democratic Party (DC) was imploding after four decades of hegemony. The Conservatives’ aura as the natural party of government was shattered in 1997 by Tony Blair’s New Labour but it took another 12 years for Japanese voters to vote out the LDP. Meanwhile, Canada’s Liberal Party had been in charge for some 80 years but came third in a 2011 election. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. In her book, Françoise Boucek explains how this factionalism precipitates the downfall of many political leaders but can also prolong office by containing conflict and hanging onto dissidents. In a survey of the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Christian Democratic Party of Italy and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Dr Boucek explores this paradox and the potential dangers of factional politics for dominant political parties.

Dr Françoise Boucek

Dr Françoise Boucek is Teaching Fellow in European politics and policy in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, Visiting Professor at the University of Witten Herdecke (Germany) and Research Associate of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Public Policy Group. She grew up in France, graduated in business administration (1973) and moved to London and then Canada where she worked as a research analyst for an investment bank. She gained her BA (1988) in political science from the University of Toronto and gained her MSc (1991) and PhD (2002) from the LSE. She was Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Modern History at London Metropolitan University (1991-93) and LSE (1994-97 and 2001-03). She has written widely about political parties, representative democracy and one-party dominance including in Japan and is co-editor of Dominant Political Parties and Democracy: Concepts, Measures, Cases and Comparisons (London: Routledge, 2010).

Professor Kensuke Takayasu

Professer Kensuke Takayasu (discussant) is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Seikei University in Tokyo. He received his BA (1994) and MA (1996) both in political science from Waseda University. He read his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), gaining his PhD from the University of London in 2003. He became a research fellow at Hokkaido University in 2004, before joining Seikei University as associate professor in 2006. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Department of Government, LSE. Professor Takayasu has written widely on both British and Japanese politics, and has published a book in 2009 titled The Power of Prime Ministers in Japan and Britain – Dynamics of their Relationships with the Governing Party (Tokyo: Sobunsha). His articles appear regularly in Sekai. In 2011, his paper ‘New Conventions Required: Ideas to Re-invigorate Japanese Party Politics’ was published in Asia-Pacific Review (Vol.18 Issue 2), while the website Japan Echo Web (No.7 August-September) carried his article ‘In Need of New Rules of the Game.’

BOOKING FORM

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Art, events and bodies in 1960s Japan Talk by Peter Eckersall

30 January 2013 from 6.30pm, at the Japan Foundation, London

Through public and social events such as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the 1970 Osaka Expo and the radicalisation of the student protest movement, the 1960s in Japan can be considered an era of embodied cultural acts; events all engaging with experience of the body, whether it be athletics, the crowds who gathered at Expo, and mass rallies that took over the city streets and railway stations.  So too can a relationship with the body be identified in the arts of the 1960s, ranging from its use in stage performance, art events and the fascination with the body in cinema.

From Nagisa Oshima’s films about the protest movement to the Black Flag stage performance art events, Peter Eckersall, Associate Professor of Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne and Research Fellow at the Centre for Interweaving Performance Cultures, Freie Universität Berlin, will discuss the various connections between the body, politics and action in the 1960s in the broader cultural context and look into how the era can be considered a decade of embodied gestures and events.  This event will give an insight to the state of arts and culture in the 1960s, an era marking a milestone in Japan.

 

Women and Leadership

22 May 2012

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

The fourth seminar in our 2012 series Leadership: People and Power in the UK and Japan looks at Women and Leadership.  Japan remains one of the OECD’s poorest performers on gender equality issues, despite numerous attempts over the years to improve the situation. Only 11.3% of Japanese Diet members are women (a proportion recently surpassed by South Korea, with 14.7%). A survey of listed companies by Toyo Keizai last year found that women accounted for just 1.4% of management positions. And what about the UK, which elected its first female Prime Minister over 30 years ago? Even here, men in leadership positions still far outnumber women, and the gender debate is very much alive. Do we need quotas for female representation at the highest levels?  Our Japanese speaker is Dr Wakako Hironaka, one of the few women at the top level of Japanese politics, who became a State Minister almost 20 years ago, at a time when it was very difficult for women to succeed in this field. Our UK speaker is Suzi Digby OBE, Founder and Principal of The Voices Foundation, well-known as both a charity leader and a choral conductor. The seminar will be chaired by Joanna Pitman, former Tokyo Bureau Chief of The Times.

Dr Wakako Hironaka

Dr Wakako Hironaka is a former Member of the House of Councillors (1986-2010) and a former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Japan.  Among her many roles, she has served as State Minister, Director-General of the Environment Agency (1993-94), Chair of the Committee on Fundamental National Policies, and Chair of the EU-Japan Parliamentary Group. Dr Hironaka has also been active internationally, as a Vice-Chair of Global Environmental Action, Chair of GLOBE Japan, and member of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, the Earth Charter Initiative, and International Science Advisory Board of UNESCO. She currently serves as Director-General of GEA, and as a Board Member of the Energy and Resources Institute, Earth Charter Commission and PA International Foundation. She was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor Akihito in 2010.

Suzi Digby OBE (Lady Eatwell)

Suzi Digby OBE (Lady Eatwell) is an internationally renowned Choral Conductor and Music Educator. Born in Japan, Suzi lived internationally before settling in London/Cambridge. She has trailblazed the revival of singing in UK schools and the community over two decades. Suzi founded and runs four influential arts/education organisations: The Voices Foundation (the UK’s leading Music Education Charity); Voce Chamber Choir (one of London’s finest young Chamber Choirs); Vocal Futures (Nurturing young [16-22] audiences for Classical Music); and Artsworks (Leadership and ‘Accelerated Learning’ for Corporates). She is a Professor at the University of Southern California, where she is creating a Masters in Arts Leadership. As a conductor, Suzi’s 2011 debut with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (Vocal Futures’ Bach’s St Matthew Passion) was met with outstanding critical acclaim. Suzi is Trustee of Music in Country Churches, among other music and education charities. She is President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and was Acting Music Director of Queens’ College, University of Cambridge. Amongst many TV appearances, she was judge in the BBC1 show, Last Choir Standing.

Joanna Pitman (chair)

Joanna Pitman was educated at Cambridge University where she read Japanese Studies. On graduating, she worked for a number of financial magazines in London before joining The Times. In 1989 she was appointed Tokyo Bureau Chief of The Times, a post she held for six years covering all news out of Japan and major stories in the region. Back in London, she became a writer on international affairs for The Times and did a series of major political interviews for the paper. Changing course, she spent ten years as an arts critic on The Times, and then when her children were older, she joined the strategic intelligence company, Hakluyt & Co. She is a trustee of Somerset House and of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. She has written two books: On Blondes(2004) and The Raphael Trail (2006).

BOOKING FORM

Can the Democratic Party finally raise Japan’s consumption tax?

Lecture details:

8 March 2012

6:00 – 7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 7:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Japan has one of the highest levels of government borrowing in the world. Many commentators agree that an increase in the Consumption Tax rate (currently 5%) is inevitable sooner or later. But such an increase would disproportionately hit the poor, so it is highly contentious.

This lecture discusses the politics of raising the Consumption Tax, and in particular the reasons why the discussion has moved forward during the time that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has been in power.

A number of institutional changes resulted from political reforms enacted in the 1990s. These reforms, including changes to the electoral system to introduce single-seat constituencies, resulted in a weakening of habatsu(factions) and zoku-giin (political tribes) within the political parties. At the same time, the reforms strengthened the authority of party executives in the policy-making process. Professor Kamikubo will argue that these institutional changes have given additional momentum to the push to increase the consumption tax increase, and that significant progress has been made under the current DPJ regime.

But it remains unclear whether the Noda government can push through tax increases and improve Japan’s budget position, because of strong opposition in the nejire-kokkai (“twisted Diet”). This lecture will assess the Noda government’s chances of success in reforming the tax system.

Dr Masato Kamikubo

Dr Masato Kamikubo is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, and has a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. His research interests are contemporary Japanese politics, public administration, and international political economy. Kamikubo was a former Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Rikkyo University and the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), Waseda University. He was also Assistant Professor at Waseda University Global COE Program: Global Institute for Asian Regional Integration (GIARI). Kamikubo publishes various articles about Japanese politics in magazines and on-line journals, such as Chuo Koron (Central Review).

BOOKING FORM

Leadership and History in the UK and Japan

24 January 2012

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

This first seminar in the 2012 series, Leadership: People and Power in the UK and Japan, will draw on examples from history to set the scene for a year-long discussion of leadership issues in both countries. While lack of leadership is a recurring theme in analyses of Japanese politics, the sharing of power in Britain’s coalition government is giving rise to different concerns. The speakers will contextualise such contemporary debates by reflecting on past crises and successes of leadership and the importance of leadership as a force for change. Subsequent seminars will consider the roles that may be played by individuals and organisations in political, corporate and other spheres in influencing the future direction of society.